Network Security Assessment

What is a Network Security Assessment?

A Network Security Assessment is an audit designed to find vulnerabilities that are at risk of being compromised in your network. These vulnerabilities could cause harm to business operations and leak sensitive and confidential information, which will cost you further time and money. Network vulnerabilities come in many different forms and are constantly changing as technology evolves and improves.

 

However, vulnerabilities can be grouped into three unique categories; internal, external, and social. Regularly conducting Network Security Assessments is a crucially important activity for your cyber security team and should consistently remain one of the top priorities for your organization.

Why Are Network Security Assessments Important?

Network Security Assessments are important because they illuminate network deficiencies in a way that is both educational and extremely valuable for your business. All organizations with a network are at consistent risk for compromise. Most organizations have numerous vulnerabilities that would otherwise go unidentified without a Network Security Assessment. By performing Network Security Assessments, you will always be in the know of where you are most vulnerable. This is important because knowing your vulnerabilities is half the battle of fighting them. If you know where you are most vulnerable your team can make efforts to patch these holes, or at least minimize the chance of them being used to compromise your Network.

 

Overall, Network Security Assessments are important because they provide you with information that helps protect your data, employees and your customers. Most valuable company data is often available through your networks, so bolstering your defenses and learning where an attack is most likely is priceless for your cyber security team.

The Two Forms of Network Security Assessments

There are two major types of Network Security Assessments; vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. Each of these tests provides valuable insight into your network and helps your cyber security team function more effectively and efficiently.

Vulnerability Assessments

Vulnerability Assessments are basic security audits performed on your organization. This form of Network Security Assessment is designed to look at the security of your network from the point of view of all three vulnerability categories (internal, external, and social). The assessment produces a report which details network weaknesses from each of these categories, and your network as a whole. 

 

This form of assessment will identify areas of high risk and recommend changes that need to be made to minimize network vulnerabilities. Vulnerability Assessments provide valuable overall insight into the makeup of your company network. This gives your team a great jumping off point for the focus of their defense efforts.

Penetration Tests

Penetration Tests are a form of network audit that include most of the capabilities of a Vulnerability Assessment, but dives deeper into the internal, external, and social testing. When Penetration Tests find vulnerabilities, these are often passed onto other team members so the vulnerability can be neutralized as a whole or at least minimized. Payload deliveries on a network also help reveal weak links in the system, providing the team with an exact location of the vulnerability. This is useful because if a real-world payload was released through a vulnerability in your network, a hacker could likely take control of segments of your company and potentially expose critical information. Preventing attacks like these are why Penetration Tests are conducted, and why they are so important to integrate into your organization.

The Overall Objectives of a Network Security Assessment

  1. Discover internal, external, and social attack vectors regarding your organization.
  2. Identify vulnerabilities in servers within your network, usually within your files, applications, or databases.
  3. Find a combination of low-risk vulnerabilities that could be used in tandem to create a high-risk vulnerability for the company.
  4. Test the reliability of network defenses against a large variety of attacks.
  5. Measure the scope and impact of successful attacks on the company, in regard to both internal and external attacks.
  6. Provide guidance to your cyber security team regarding identified vulnerabilities and how said vulnerabilities should be prioritized.

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